Police make 3rd arrest in suspected smart phone crime ring
Posted By Craig Huber, Web Managing Editor - email
Heather Serenbetz (LVMPD)
Joseph Cardenas (LVMPD)
Justin Profit (LVMPD)
A YouTube video produced by Metro police explains the prevalence of smart phone thieves. (LVMPD/YouTube)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Metro police have announced a third arrest in connection with an alleged crime ring which targets people's cellphones and tablet devices.
Heather Serenbetz, 20, of Las Vegas, brings the number of arrests to three. Serenbetz is accused of being the getaway driver and is charged with a laundry list of crimes including attempted grand larceny, conspiracy to commit larceny, burglary and grand larceny.
Detectives said what began as reported theft with some victims turned out to become a criminal ring.
According to police, the suspects looked for distracted people using their phones. While the victims are texting or making a call, the suspects grabbed the phones and fled on foot to a vehicle waiting nearby.
Detectives said they targeted the latest generation of Apple "smart phones" and, in some instances, larger tablet devices.
During the investigation, two men – Justin Profit, 18, and Joseph Neal Cardenas, 24 – were charged in connection to the alleged thefts. Police believe both were part of separate but larger rings that targeted people with smart phones.
Police also said the incidents concern authorities for two reasons: the ease of reselling the devices, which lead to a rise in the crimes; and the high probability of a violent confrontation happening between the suspect and the victim.
Both Profit and Cardenas were charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit grand larceny, among many charges.
Police said the crime rings are believed to be operating in the southwest part of the Las Vegas Valley.
On Thursday, Metro posted a video to better explain the crime ring. You can view it here.
Stay tuned to FOX5 for the latest on this developing story.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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